scorecardRussia can't make new missiles fast enough to keep up its attacks, so massive strikes are becoming rarer, UK intel says
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Russia can't make new missiles fast enough to keep up its attacks, so massive strikes are becoming rarer, UK intel says

Chris Panella,Jake Epstein   

Russia can't make new missiles fast enough to keep up its attacks, so massive strikes are becoming rarer, UK intel says
LifeInternational2 min read
  • Russia can't make new missiles fast enough, leading to less frequent attacks on Ukraine, UK intel says.
  • The intelligence suggests Russia is struggling to "stockpile a critical mass" for larger strikes.

Massive Russian strikes on Ukraine are becoming increasingly rare because Russia likely can't produce new missiles quickly enough to keep up its attacks, Western intelligence assesses.

Britain's defense ministry shared in a Friday intelligence update that Russia's huge air attack against Ukraine on Thursday was the first major wave of long-range strikes since mid-February and the largest since December.

"The interval between waves of strikes is probably growing because Russia now needs to stockpile a critical mass of newly produced missiles directly from industry before it can resource a strike big enough to credibly overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses," the defense ministry wrote.

Russian forces fired 81 missiles and eight Iranian-made suicide drones at cities across Ukraine during Thursday's attack, including Kh-101 and Kh-555 air-launched cruise missiles, Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles, S-300 surface-to-air missiles, Kh-31P and 6 –Kh-59 guided missiles, Kh-47 Kinzhal missiles, six Kh-22 missiles.

UK intelligence said Russia fired "an unusually large number" of Kh-47 Kinzhal ballistic missiles. These weapons can travel at five times the speed of sound and break through Ukraine's defenses, although Russia has rarely used them since the early weeks of its full-scale invasion.

Ukraine's defense ministry said after the attack that its forces managed to shoot down 34 cruise missiles and four drones, but others managed to pass through its defenses. The strikes hit Kyiv, Lviv, and other major cities, leaving multiple civilians dead and injured.

US officials have previously said that Russia was exhausting its munition supply and couldn't replace stockpiles fast enough. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in December that the situation was "really pretty extraordinary," and the intelligence community had a sense that Russia is "not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending at this stage."

But Haines also acknowledged that Russian forces "have a lot of stockpiles," which could keep them stable for future attacks.

"How viable those stockpiles are, how much they have, what they can use in different conflicts are obviously all questions that we look at quite carefully with our allies and partners," she said at the time.

A top UK envoy, meanwhile, said in late 2022 that Russia was working to obtain ballistic missiles from Iran to bolster its stockpile.

Barbara Woodward, the UK's permanent representative to the United Nations, said in December that the Security Council was "concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with more advanced military components" in return for massive supplies of ballistic missiles.




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